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How to Address Concerns About
the Process of Psychotherapy

Sometimes, even when you have chosen a mental health professional carefully, you may have doubts about the treatment effectiveness or the match between you and your psychotherapist. It is predictable that you may experience some discomfort as you begin to deal with the range of feelings that are uncovered or released through the process of therapy. It is not unusual for you to experience considerable uncertainty and confusion as you explore difficult feelings with your psychotherapist. This is especially true during the early stages of therapy.

Do not make the mistake of simply discontinuing therapy when problems or difficulties occur! Remember, therapy is a process: change and healing become possible as you address issues within the context of the therapeutic relationship you are able to establish with your psychotherapist. It is important to discuss your concerns openly with your psychotherapist because the experience may yield valuable information, and you may discover a variety of options that are available to you.

Sometimes you may go through a period of getting worse before things seem to get better. This period of time may be brief or its duration may be more lengthy. Sometimes it may be important for you to become more assertive concerning the issues on which you want to concentrate in your therapy. And sometimes you may find that you experience feelings of discomfort with your psychotherapist. Discussing these feelings directly with your psychotherapist can help you to decipher whether you are encountering old issues within the context of the therapeutic relationship or whether the feelings indicate other areas of concern that need to be addressed by you and your psychotherapist.

Whether the psychotherapist you have selected is open to discussing these kinds of concerns, or if she or he discounts or minimizes your feelings, also provides important information that will help you decide what to do next. If, after discussing your concerns thoroughly, you still have doubts, obtaining a second opinion is not only your right, but also your responsibility. Simply contact another psychotherapist and ask for a second opinion evaluation.

Should you decide to terminate with your current psychotherapist, it is customary to schedule at least one appointment to evaluate what you have accomplished and to reach closure. If you decide to stay with your psychotherapist, it is important to discuss the second opinion openly in session.

 


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Last updated June 2007